SELAH – W.F. West softball coach Mike Keen has seen big innings, high-scoring games and extended hot streaks.
But what he saw his Bearcats do in two days – four games – at the Class 2A state championships in Selah defies description.
In four tournament games, W.F. West scored a whopping 49 runs – with its highest output coming in a 15-3 victory over Evergreen Conference rival Tumwater in the 2A title game at Carlon Park.
It was the Bearcats’ first softball championship since winning 3A in 2000.
Reliever Kalynn Randt pitched four scoreless innings to earn the victory. She is 5-0 in her career in games played on the final day of the state tournament.
But it was the bats – and loud ones, at that – that carried the Bearcats to the title. In the earlier semifinal, W.F. West clobbered Aberdeen, 13-3, to set up the rematch of the Southwest District title game – also won by the Bearcats.
“They ooze confidence,” Keen said.
W.F. West scored three runs off Tumwater pitcher Kierstin Smith in the first inning – capped by an RBI triple from shortstop Dani Braun.
Smith tied it in the third inning when she hit a three-run home run off Ali Graham, the W.F. West starter.
Keen went to Randt, a senior he calls his “relief specialist,” in the fourth inning, and her off-speed pitches really threw the Thunderbirds off.
Still, Tumwater had a chance to take the lead in that inning. With a runner in scoring position, Braun snared a sharp line drive up the middle, and turned it into a double play to end the inning.
On the first pitch she saw from Smith leading off the fifth inning, W.F. West’s Kaitlin Moore hit a solo shot to right-center field to break the tie. Lauren Fisher later added an RBI single to cap a three-run fifth inning, and the Bearcats led, 6-3.
It was a disappointing ending a season in which Tumwater won the EvCo regular-season title, sweeping the Bearcats in three games. The Thunderbirds defeated host Selah, 4-2, in the other 2A semifinal Saturday – only to run into hot-hitting W.F. West.
“Tumwater and Aberdeen are two really good teams … so scoring this much did surprise me,” Keen said. “One advantage we have is that we have several pitchers, so we have fresh arms and legs all the time. And Tumwater was coming off an emotional win (against Selah).”